Car Deal Canada

How DealerRater Works

How DealerRater Works

DealerRater is the world’s largest car dealership review and rating platform, with over 8 million customer reviews to date. This guide will explore everything you need to know about DealerRater as a consumer looking for a car or as a dealership looking to leverage reviews and reputation management.

DealerRater allows customers to rate and review their car buying experience at local dealerships. Dealers can claim their profiles on DealerRater and monitor and respond to the reviews they receive. An algorithm then distributes these reviews across major search engines and sites to showcase the dealership’s reputation.

We’ll cover the history and background of DealerRater, how the platform works, the benefits for both consumers and dealers, what to consider when reading and writing reviews, and keys to success. We’ll also look at DealerRater’s awards programs, integrations, industry impact, and what the future may hold for the platform.

Whether you’re a shopper looking for your next car or a dealership looking to improve your reputation, this comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about DealerRater.

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History of DealerRater

DealerRater was founded in 2002 with the goal of becoming the first website to aggregate customer reviews of car dealerships. At the time, the internet was still relatively new, and most businesses didn’t have an online presence or reputation management strategy. Customer reviews existed on some forums and message boards, but there was no central platform dedicated to dealership ratings and reviews.

DealerRater saw an opportunity to create a database of dealership reviews that would benefit both consumers and dealers. For car buyers, the site would provide a wealth of information to help them make informed decisions and avoid potential issues. And for dealerships, it offered a chance to build credibility by showcasing great customer experiences.

In the early days, DealerRater focused on signing up local car dealers and spreading the word to customers. The first reviews were limited, but eventually grew into the millions as more people shared their dealership experiences online. Over the years, DealerRater evolved with enhanced features but remained committed to authentic reviews.

Today, DealerRater has over 4 million reviews of 40,000 US and Canadian dealerships, making it the largest collection of dealership ratings and reviews. The site pioneered an industry that is now vital for both consumers and dealers in the internet age.


How DealerRater Works

DealerRater functions as an open platform where customers can freely rate and review their experience buying a car from a dealership. After purchasing a vehicle, consumers have the option to visit and fill out a detailed review covering various aspects of their interaction with the dealership.

The review form allows customers to rate things like customer service, quality of the test drive, whether the dealer was transparent about pricing and fees, and the overall atmosphere. There are also sections for providing commentary and details on your specific salesperson. Reviews can be submitted anonymously or tied to the user’s name.

For dealerships, DealerRater provides powerful tools to monitor, manage and utilize their reviews. Dealers can claim their profiles on the site to access a dashboard that shows them latest reviews, ratings, trends, and analytics. This enables the dealer to immediately address any concerns raised in a review and have a direct conversation with the customer.

DealerRater has also developed proprietary technology that distributes dealership reviews across major sites on the internet to maximize visibility. Their Smart Targeting algorithm automatically pushes reviews to Google, Facebook, and elsewhere online based on what content will be most useful for local shoppers researching that specific dealer.


Benefits for Consumers

For consumers, DealerRater provides an invaluable resource to read authentic reviews from real customers who have purchased vehicles from dealerships. This gives car buyers access to transparent experiences and feedback from others who have gone through the car shopping process. Being able to research dealers through these candid reviews enables consumers to make more informed decisions.

Here are some of the key benefits DealerRater offers consumers:


Authentic Reviews

The reviews on DealerRater come directly from real customers sharing their first-hand experiences at dealerships. Unlike anonymous reviews on some sites, all DealerRater members must register with their names and email addresses before leaving feedback. This adds a layer of accountability to encourage fair, constructive reviews.


Research Dealers

DealerRater profiles compile ratings and reviews for individual dealerships across North America. Consumers can research local dealers to get a sense of their reputation, sales process, and customer satisfaction before ever stepping foot in the showroom. This makes it easy to identify potential red flags or great experiences reported by fellow customers.


Make Informed Decisions

By leveraging the reviews and ratings on DealerRater, car shoppers can make better-informed decisions on where to purchase their next vehicle. The site makes it simple to compare consumer experiences across multiple dealers to find the right fit based on reported service, pricing, finance options and more. Reviews help take the guesswork out of the buying process.


Benefits for Dealerships

DealerRater provides numerous benefits for car dealerships looking to build credibility, identify areas for improvement, promote top employees, and attract more customers through online reviews.

With over 8 million reviews, DealerRater gives dealerships the ability to showcase a credible reputation. Positive customer feedback on the platform builds trust and shows potential buyers that the dealership provides a high quality experience. Satisfied customers who take the time to leave 5-star reviews lend third party validation.

Dealerships can also utilize reviews to pinpoint problems or opportunities for better service. Constructive feedback allows management to address issues before they impact sales. Monitoring reviews regularly enables proactive improvements to be made.

Additionally, DealerRater gives dealerships a platform to highlight individual employees who excel at customer service. By claiming their profile, dealers can feature standout salespeople or service advisors. Promoting these achievements attracts customers who want to work with proven top performers.

With millions of car shoppers visiting DealerRater each month during their research process, positive reviews attract more visitors to a dealership’s website and sales floor. Customers today often read reviews before ever stepping foot in a dealership, so building a strong DealerRater presence is key to driving traffic.


What to Consider When Reading or Writing Reviews

When reading through dealership reviews on DealerRater, it’s important to look for depth, detail, and objectivity. The most helpful reviews avoid vague statements and provide thoughtful analysis of the full experience at a dealership. Look for reviews that describe specifics like interactions with sales staff, the negotiation process, paperwork time, and any issues that came up after purchase. Reviews that tell a story and provide context tend to be more authentic.

Also watch for any reviews that seem suspiciously fake. While most are real customers, some dealerships try posting exaggerated praise under made-up names. These often lack details and read like an advertisement. Competitors may also post fake negative reviews to hurt a dealer’s reputation. If many reviews follow a similar scripted style or seem too perfect, take them with a grain of salt.

When leaving your own review, strive to be as fair and accurate as possible. Include details and specifics to add credibility. Give an honest assessment of things that went well or poorly during your experience. Avoid trashing or praising a dealership too emphatically without explanation. Being moderate helps your review seem more genuine and influences other consumers more. Also be sure to review the actual dealership location you visited in case they have multiple branches. Following these best practices helps make DealerRater reviews more useful for everyone.


Keys to Success with DealerRater for Consumers

When using DealerRater as a consumer, there are a few key strategies to get the most out of reading and writing reviews:


Visit the dealer in person – While reviews provide helpful insight, there’s no substitute for visiting the dealer yourself and getting a firsthand impression. Reviews should complement rather than replace your own experience. Use reviews to narrow down options, not make a final decision.


Focus on trends, not outliers – Look at the big picture trends in a dealership’s reviews rather than putting too much weight on a single negative or positive review. Isolated reviews could reflect an unusually good or bad experience. But if you see consistent themes in multiple reviews, pay attention to those patterns.


By using reviews as a discovery tool while still doing your own research, you’ll be well equipped to find the right dealer using DealerRater.


Keys to Success with DealerRater for Dealerships

Dealerships can maximize the benefits of DealerRater by taking a proactive approach to reviews. Here are some of the most important keys to success:


Actively Collect Reviews

Don’t just wait for reviews to trickle in. Have a system for requesting feedback from customers post-purchase. This could include review cards, emails, or texts. The more reviews you generate, the more accurate picture potential customers will get.


Respond to Reviews

Customers appreciate knowing their voice is heard. Respond professionally to reviews, especially any negative ones. Thank happy customers and address constructive feedback. Comments show you care.


Improve on Issues

Pay close attention to any trends in critical reviews. If multiple people cite long waits or pushy sales tactics, make it a priority to address those problems. Reviews provide free focus groups on improving.


Feature Standout Employees

Make sure to highlight your rock star salespeople and staff. When great employees get shoutouts in reviews, it reflects well on your whole team. It also helps attract customers who want to work with those individuals.


DealerRater Services

DealerRater offers a range of services to help dealerships manage their online reputation and leverage customer feedback. These include:


Review Collection Tools

DealerRater provides review collection tools to make it easy for dealers to prompt customers to leave reviews across various platforms. This includes review links, QR codes, email and text templates, and integration with CRM systems.


Reputation Management

With a claimed dealership profile, dealers can monitor reviews in real-time, flag suspicious ones, and immediately respond to feedback. This enables proactive reputation management.


Employee Profiles

Dealers can create free profiles for salespeople, managers, and other staff. This allows customers to leave named reviews tied to employees. It helps dealers identify and promote top-performing team members.



Robust analytics provide insights into review volume, sales team performance, review sentiment changes over time, and more. Dealers can track metrics and see the impact of reputation initiatives.


DealerRater Awards

DealerRater offers several awards programs to recognize top-performing dealerships and salespeople. These awards provide helpful indicators for consumers on which dealers offer exceptional customer service.


Dealer of the Year Award

The Dealer of the Year Award goes to dealerships that achieve outstanding customer satisfaction based on their DealerRater reviews. To qualify for this prestigious annual award, dealers must:


  • Have a minimum of 25 reviews for the calendar year
  • Maintain an average minimum star rating of 4.0 out of 5.0
  • Have at least 33% of their reviews be 5 out of 5 stars
  • Show they actively collect reviews and respond promptly


Winners demonstrate excelling in areas like staff professionalism, facility cleanliness, competitive pricing, and service quality. Honorees gain recognition and build trust through this award.


Certified Dealer Award

The Certified Dealer Award recognizes dealers who actively manage their online reputation and demonstrate commitment to customer satisfaction. To become certified, dealers must:


  • Have an average rating of at least 4.0 stars
  • Respond to a minimum of 25 reviews in the past year
  • Have a dedicated employee managing online reputation


Certified Dealers have access to powerful reputation management tools to continue improving their customer experience. This award designates dealerships that make customer satisfaction a priority.


Outstanding Customer Satisfaction Award

DealerRater’s Outstanding Customer Satisfaction Awards go to individual salespeople and service advisors who deliver exceptional experiences. To win, advisors must:


  • Receive a high volume of positive reviews mentioning them by name
  • Demonstrate consistent excellence in areas like product knowledge, attentiveness, and professionalism


This award gives recognition to standout employees who go above and beyond. It helps dealerships showcase these customer service all-stars.


Integrating with DealerRater

Dealerships can integrate directly with DealerRater to more effectively manage their profiles and leverage reviews. Here are some of the key ways to integrate:


Claiming Profiles

Dealerships can claim their DealerRater profiles to gain more control over how their business is presented. This allows updating key information, photos, services and more. It also provides access to advanced reputation management tools.


Importing Reviews

New reviews can be automatically imported into DealerRater’s dashboard. This enables dealerships to monitor the latest reviews from across the web in one centralized location.


Responding to Reviews

With an integrated profile, dealerships can directly respond to reviews on DealerRater. This helps showcase excellent customer service, address concerns, and improve future business.

Overall, integration takes advantage of DealerRater’s robust platform to help dealerships manage their online reputation and build stronger customer connections.


DealerRater’s Industry Impact

DealerRater has had a significant impact on the automotive sales industry since its inception. As the largest collection of dealership reviews online, DealerRater provides valuable insights into reputation, sales, and customer satisfaction trends across the industry.

In terms of sales, DealerRater reviews and ratings have been shown to directly influence consumers’ buying decisions. 88% of shoppers read online reviews before visiting a dealership, and 64% say positive reviews make them more likely to buy from a dealer. This gives dealerships with strong reputations and review profiles on DealerRater a competitive sales advantage.

Review trends on DealerRater also provide an overview of customer satisfaction levels and pain points in the customer journey. Analyzing review themes and sentiments allows dealers to identify areas for improvement at both individual dealership and industry-wide levels. For example, reviews commonly mention issues with financing, trade-ins, and lack of transparency during negotiations.

Finally, DealerRater has pushed the industry as a whole to prioritize online reputation management. With reviews publicly available, dealerships invest heavily in monitoring, responding to, and proactively collecting reviews on DealerRater. This focus on reputation has led many dealerships to improve their customer service and transparency knowing it will be reflected in reviews.

In summary, DealerRater has become an influential platform shaping the way dealerships operate, sell, and interact with customers. By providing insights into sales, service, and industry trends, DealerRater has had a markedly positive impact overall.


The Future of DealerRater

As the premier platform for dealership reviews, DealerRater is poised for continued growth and expansion in the years ahead. Here are some of the likely areas of focus:


Expanding Globally

To date, DealerRater’s services have been focused primarily in North America. However, the company recognizes the global potential for dealership reviews. In the future, DealerRater is likely to push into international markets, bringing its review platform to new regions worldwide.


New Review Features

DealerRater will continue enhancing its platform with new features for collecting and displaying reviews. For example, they may add the ability for customers to upload photos/videos about their dealership experience. Review response times and dealer promotions could also be tracked. The focus will be on providing consumers more ways to share experiences.


Mobile Apps

As consumers increasingly use smartphones for research, DealerRater is expected to invest more in its mobile apps. This includes both reviewer apps to easily leave feedback, and consumer apps to access reviews on-the-go. Advances in location services, notifications, and integration with other auto apps could make the mobile experience even more seamless.

By leveraging these kinds of innovations, DealerRater is poised to strengthen its position as the most trusted name in dealership reviews worldwide. The platform’s continued evolution will benefit both consumers and dealers for many years to come.



In summary, DealerRater provides an invaluable platform for consumers to research and review car dealerships, while enabling dealers to build credibility and better serve their customers. With over 8 million reviews, DealerRater has the largest collection of dealership ratings and reviews available online.

For consumers, these authentic reviews allow for making more informed buying decisions by identifying reputable dealers and potential issues before visiting in person. Reviewing trends and patterns in the ratings provides unique insights not found on a dealer’s own website.

For car dealerships, actively managing their DealerRater presence presents tremendous opportunities to build trust and improve operations. By monitoring and responding to reviews, dealers can showcase their strengths and identify areas needing improvement. Promoting top-performing salespeople also attracts customers through reviews.

Overall, the openness and transparency of DealerRater reviews benefits both consumers and dealerships. The platform enables connections and conversations that were not possible before. By embracing user-generated ratings and feedback, car buyers and sellers can find the best fit while driving business improvements.

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Questions About DealerRater

DealerRater is an online platform where car buyers can read and write reviews about their experiences at local car dealerships across Canada. With over 8 million reviews, it is the largest collection of car dealership reviews in the country. Consumers use the site to help research potential dealerships while dealers use it to monitor their online reputation and showcase positive customer feedback.

DealerRater gets its reviews directly from customers. After buying or servicing a vehicle at a dealership, consumers can go to and write a review detailing their experience. The site also sends review requests to recent customers on the dealer’s behalf. DealerRater then publishes verified reviews on the appropriate dealership’s profile page.

Yes. DealerRater has several processes in place to verify the legitimacy of reviews before publishing them. This includes screening for fake or duplicated content as well as confirming customer details with the dealership. Published reviews must be written by actual, verified customers sharing their real experiences.

No. As an independent review site, DealerRater does not allow dealerships to remove or hide negative reviews. This ensures customers get access to authentic feedback. Dealers can publicly respond to reviews, clarifying any misinformation or outlining improvements made since the review was written.

A dealership’s overall DealerRater rating is an aggregate score based on the star ratings given by individual reviewers. Reviewers rate dealerships on a 5-star scale for categories like customer service, quality of work, friendliness, pricing and overall experience. DealerRater then averages these ratings.

Power Dealer status recognises outstanding performance on DealerRater. Canadian dealerships must meet strict criteria regarding their total review volume, average star rating and ability to get customers to review them across multiple categories. Only the top 15% of car dealers achieve Power Dealer status.

DealerRater gives out annual Certified Dealer awards in Canada to top-performing dealerships and salespeople. Dealerships must meet targets for review volume, average rating, and percentage of positive reviews. Individual sales staff can also qualify by being mentioned positively in enough 4-5 star reviews throughout the year.

Yes. DealerRater provides several advertising options to help dealerships promote themselves and drive traffic to their dealership profile pages. Options include display ads, retargeting ads, profile badges and sponsored review distribution to capture attention among DealerRater’s large car shopper audience.

Absolutely. Numerous studies show that a higher online reputation, reflected in positive customer reviews, directly translates to higher conversion rates and sales. 75% of car shoppers check reviews on sites like DealerRater before visiting a dealership. Positive feedback builds trust and gives customers confidence to buy from that dealer.

DealerRater offers both free and paid services to dealerships. Any registered dealership gets a free online profile showcasing verified customer reviews. Paid services provide further capabilities around reputation monitoring, customer review requests, advertising and analytics. Pricing varies based on specific services selected.

Key capabilities dealers get with DealerRater include:

– Online profile collecting Google-indexed reviews

– Review monitoring and response platform

– Customised review requests to customers

– Review distribution to other sites like Facebook

– Real-time review analytics and reporting

– Advertising targeting car shoppers

– Awards and certification programs

Positive DealerRater ratings and reviews are extremely valuable social proof in a dealership’s marketing. DealerRater gives dealers license to re-publish reviews, ratings and awards in their advertising campaigns across media like websites, email, brochures, TV, radio and more. This boosts credibility.

Yes. DealerRater has a free tool called RaterAccess that allows dealership staff to take control of their dealership’s profile. Dealers can claim unpublished listings, add key information like vehicles sold, update contact details, showcase employees and more.

DealerRater does provide API integration capabilities. Dealers can have their latest DealerRater reviews automatically feed into their CRM system like Salesforce. Review analytics can also be pulled into business intelligence reporting. This keeps key staff updated in real-time.

No. DealerRater collects reviews for independent used car dealers as well. The focus is providing consumer reviews across both new and used vehicle dealerships of all types and sizes within Canada. Any registered motor vehicle dealer can utilise DealerRater for reviews.

DealerRater employs stringent data privacy protocols and security technology to protect personal information. All data is kept confidential according to industry best practices and government regulations. The site also gives users full control over what personal details are shared publicly.

Yes. If a customer changes their mind about having personal identifiers visible publicly on their posted review, they can request alteration or removal of this data through DealerRater customer support. Users have the right to adjust data sharing preferences.

Yes. While extremely popular among Canadian car buyers and dealers, DealerRater actually maintains the largest database of car dealership reviews across the United States as well. The platform is widely used by American consumers researching potential car dealers. DealerRater continues expanding into other countries too.

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